Beauty of Wood – Innovation award goes to…

China Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo

Text by WoodWorks/Wood Products Council

Images: Sergio Grazia

The China Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo won the Beauty of Wood – Innovation award at the 2016Wood Design Award by WoodWorks, an initiative of the Wood Products Council.

Designed as a temporary structure for Expo Milano 2015, the China Pavilion expands on the theme, Feeding the Planet –Energy for Life, with its focus on sustainability and the co-existence of nature and city. Glulam was chosen to meet the challenges of the roof structure, including long spans and cantilevers, complex geometry, varying elevations and exposed framing. Transitioning from sharp angles to soft waves, the roof profile is accomplished with regularly spaced rafters, each with a custom curvature to match the evolving roof geometry.

Longitudinal purlins with exterior bamboo sunscreens connect the structure’s sharp-edged rafters on the northern side to the soft waving rafters of the south. The architect’s vision of an open interior space was achieved by designing the long-span roof as a structural grid. To ensure the necessary stiffness, custom fixed-end connections were used between the purlins and primary timber rafters, while cable cross bracing within the grid offered additional strength.


“WoodWorks Wood Design Awards celebrate projects and design teams that showcase the innovative use of wood as both a structural and finish material,” said Jennifer Cover, PE, executive director of WoodWorks/Wood Products Council. “Ranging from mass timber to traditional wood-frame, winning projects exemplify wood’s many attributes, from structural performance and design versatility, to sustainability and cost effectiveness.”